Harper College

Promise Program a motivator to do better for Meha Patel

Meha Patel in the libraryThe Promise Program was a constant source of motivation for Meha Patel.

Coming from a low-income family, Meha knew finances would likely limit her options for college. She also knew that she wouldn’t have much guidance from her non-English speaking parents or much older brother on how to navigate the system.

So when the transition from junior high to high school became a bit rocky, Meha sprang into action. She signed up for Promise and became a regular in her counselor’s office to stay on track and be held accountable. She committed herself to being prompt, never getting a single tardy all four years. She also decided to become engaged by helping out in the front office and showing new students around.

“Low-income families don’t necessarily get the support they need. It’s really helpful for me to not have debt and be able to save up for what the future holds.”

- Meha Patel

Over time, Meha evolved into a solid student who embraced volunteering at organizations such as the Children’s Advocacy Center and at school. She was even recognized with a student services award.

“Promise kept my high school career successful,” she said. “I can honestly say that it made me do better.”

The support Meha received in the past has ignited a desire to pay it forward by becoming a high school teacher. She’s studying education at Harper and plans to transfer to Illinois State University upon graduating. One day, she’d love to return to Conant High School and teach English.

Meha said her older brother encouraged her to sign up for Promise, hopeful that she’d have a more successful college experience than he did.

“School has never been the thing for my parents – my mom only finished eighth grade – or my brother,” Meha said. “They all want better for me, and I’m excited that Promise is helping me to build a brighter future.”

Last Updated: 3/14/24